[Update 11/23/11: thanks to Joe Heschmeyer for acknowledging my blog! Upon revisiting this post myself, I realized I better give it a quick brush-up for grammar. While you are visiting, please offer a prayer for my new child, born yesterday!]
Fr. John Riccardo (Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Plymouth, MI), is one of my favorite priests. I discovered him while living in Michigan and had the blessing of attending Mass at his parish a few times. His voice is heard frequently on Ave Maria Radio, and I highly recommend his excellent podcast.
I went to his website today and discovered an excellent talk that he was invited to give at a local non-denominational church, Kensington Church. Fr. Riccardo is a good model of how to build common ground with non-Catholic Christians, and this talk shows one way that we Catholics (priests or otherwise) might hope to build more bridges in the future. In this talk, Fr. Riccardo builds on the common ground of our shared love of Jesus Christ. It is on this ground that we as Christians can one day hope to be perfectly reunified.
One significant point that Fr. Riccardo makes is that many Catholics have been sacramentalized but not evangelized, a fact most recently lamented by Benedict XVI himself. All of us, Fr. Riccardo points out, need to learn the Gospel and develop a personal relationship with our Lord. Of course, the sacraments, instituted by Christ himself, are also an essential part of our relationship with Him, but the expectation is that we encounter Him whom we love and know personally in the sacraments. The sacraments should lead us to know Jesus personally, but, as many Protestants are coming to discover, a personal relationship with Christ is most perfectly realized and fulfilled through the sacraments, where we meet Him who loved us first in His fullness.
Fr. Riccardo makes many more excellent points, so I hope you'll take some time to listen...
Father John Riccardo at Kensington 5/28/11 from Kensington on Vimeo.